Quad Power-Supply Controller Uses Low-Cost Analog Supplies to Create Highly Accurate, Digital Power-Management Solutions

29th October 2009
News Release from: Maxim Integrated Products
Written by : ES Admin
Quad Power-Supply Controller Uses Low-Cost Analog Supplies to Create Highly Accurate, Digital Power-Management Solutions
Maxim has introduced the MAX16064, a fully integrated, highly accurate (±0.3%), quad-channel digital power-supply controller. The MAX16064 offers a PMBus interface for programming, sequencing, monitoring, and margining power supplies. Connect the MAX16064 to up to four all-analog low-cost power supplies to create a fully programmable, highly accurate, digital power-management solution.
Maxim has introduced the MAX16064, a fully integrated, highly accurate (±0.3%), quad-channel digital power-supply controller. The MAX16064 offers a PMBus interface for programming, sequencing, monitoring, and margining power supplies. Connect the MAX16064 to up to four all-analog low-cost power supplies to create a fully programmable, highly accurate, digital power-management solution. Using the existing analog power-management solutions, the device provides unequaled control and monitoring capabilities that were previously only available in all-digital power supplies. The MAX16064 digital controller is designed for high-performance, high-reliability systems with multiple power supplies. Applications include servers, storage devices, switches, base stations, routers, and networking equipment.

Highly Accurate, yet Extremely Flexible Controller

High-performance systems like servers, switches, and routers force power supplies to have some intelligence. The MAX16064 meets, and exceeds, these requirements by providing flexible monitoring, precise sequencing, and intelligent fault management. This controller also saves cost because customers no longer need to purchase expensive digital power supplies for the system(s). The MAX16064 allows any off-the-shelf power supply to perform PMBus control. This flexibility allows the user to make on-the-fly power-supply adjustments and avoid costly last-minute BOM changes.

The MAX16064 closes a slow loop around the power supply to bring the industry's highest accuracy and control in setting the output voltage. By tapping into the enable, feedback node, and/or reference input, the MAX16064 provides unmatched tracking, sequencing, and fine setting of the output voltage with ±0.3% accuracy over the operating temperature.

By storing fault data in external EEPROM, the MAX16064 also eases the process of identifying and debugging failures. The controller can poll each power supply at fixed intervals and log the information intelligently for future analysis. This is extremely beneficial to customers, because it allows them to diagnose unrepeatable errors for failures during startup or normal operation.

The MAX16064 can also increase system reliability by margining up to four power supplies in the system. Margining system voltages is an effective means of stress-testing high-reliability systems. This feature is especially important for applications where field failures are unacceptable. Now manufacturers can identify failures during the manufacturing process, so their customers are not disrupted and costly product returns are avoided.

Easy-to-Use Graphical User Interface and Programmable Registers Save Time and Cost

A graphical user interface (GUI) is supplied free of charge with the part. With no knowledge of digital-control theory or how to write software/firmware, any engineer can use this GUI and the MAX16064 to implement a digitally programmable power supply. This programmability is also a significant benefit to engineers and system integrators who do not want to discard legacy designs and risk a completely new architecture.

Using the GUI, customers can program the MAX16064. This programmed performance is repeatable and independent of component tolerances and lot-to-lot variations, which cannot be said for all analog solutions.

If the customer is controlling power in a module or in smaller systems, the MAX16064's user-programmable registers can also be stored in a low-cost external EEPROM. Then at power-up, the MAX16064 automatically retrieves the data and loads the registers without requiring a system controller. The module manufacturers simply load the MAX16064 with default values, which can then be overwritten by the end user. This can also help with smaller systems in which a few power supplies are to be tracked/sequenced and controlled, but monitoring is not necessarily important. In these applications no system controllers are needed; the MAX16064 can start up on its own and be self-supporting with preprogrammed parameters.

The MAX16064 is available in a space-saving, 36-pin, lead-free, 6mm x 6mm TQFN package and is fully specified for the -40 degrees Celsius to +85 degrees Celsius industrial temperature range. Prices start at $6.34 (1000-up FOB USA). Samples are now available. For more information please visit: www.maxim-ic.com/quad-controller.

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